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GAMES TO PLAY
The people who create the video games we play come from many heritages! As a part of our month-long celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage, we asked two of our AAPI developers to tell us about a couple of games that have brought them joy along with interesting stories to follow. Read on to learn about a few games you should have in your game library if you don’t already.
Iron Galaxy: Hi Andrew. Thanks for sharing your experiences as a player of some great games. What’s a game have you played recently?
Andrew Chok: A Space For The Unbound. It is a slice-of-life adventure story game with a mostly 2d-side-scrolling navigated gameplay. It delves into the lives of a high school couple, Atma and Raya, set in late 90s rural Indonesia and their interactions with different people along the way. You encounter stories about overcoming anxiety, depression, and even supernatural powers. I enjoyed playing the game for its captivating story and its different mini-games and puzzles.
IG: Sounds like there are a lot of elements to appreciate within the game. If someone were asking you for a game recommendation, why would you suggest this one?
AC: I really enjoyed how well written the story was and learning about what it was like to grow up in rural 90s Indonesia. The game designer did a great job immersing the player in things a player might find trivial that they might encounter while growing up there. Other than being able to pet and name cats along the way, the game also has beautiful pixel art, and I am a sucker for pixel art.
IG: What cultural influences did you encounter?
AC: Outside of the rural 90s Indonesian experience, which is a key to the environment of the game, you feel sucked into youthful nostalgia. Without spoiling too much, you will get a taste of some of the values that are held by the people and things like music and food that are loved there.
IG: Who developed A Space For The Unbound?
AC: The developer for this game is Mojiken Studio. They are an indie game developer studio based in Surabaya, Indonesia and is composed of passionate people who believe that fun games can bring positive impact on our lives. Dimas Novan Delfiano, the game designer, wanted to focus on capturing what it felt like to grow up in Indonesia in the 1990s and wanted to preserve his memories as an Indonesian through the game. The game boasts an overwhelmingly positive review on Steam and has been positively reviewed by critics with reviews focusing on the game's solid sense of place and heartfelt story.
Iron Galaxy: Thank you Andrew. A Space For The Unbound reads to be a wonderful game.
Hey there Chaohao. What game are you sharing with us today?
Chaohao Wang: The game I am recommending is The Legend of Tianding. It is a side scrolling action beat-them-up platformer about Liao Tianding, who is a legendary Robin Hood figure in Taiwan during the early 20th century Japanese colonial period.
IG: Fun! Why would you recommend this game?
CW: As a platformer, the fighting mechanics in this game are done pretty well. The combos feel genuinely nice and smooth, and there is a unique mechanic where you can disarm your enemies and steal their weapons for limited use. The weapons range from katanas and batons, to rifles and rocket launchers. There are 6 bosses in the game. Each of them come with unique mechanics and movements that you must learn to adapt and win the fight. As you progress through the game, you can also learn new Kung Fu movements, which can be used for both fighting and platforming purposes.
IG: What cultural influences did you face?
CW: There are a lot of games that reflect distinct cultures from various parts of the world, but I rarely see ones that talk about Taiwan. The Legend of Tianding tells a story of a folk hero of Taiwan. The voice acting is done in Taiwanese Hokkien, which is the native language of Taiwan before it adopted Mandarin as its official language. The collectible items in the game not only give the player small buffs, but they are also common items that people could see during that time period in Taiwan. This would include common toys, branded cigarette boxes, advertisement posters and more. Players can experience older customs of Taiwan and what life was like for people back then by playing this game.
IG: Who’s the developer of this game?
CW: The developer of The Legend of Tianding is Creative Games & Computer Graphics Corp (CGCG), which is a company from Taiwan. The original creator made a Flash game about Tianding in 2004 for his senior project for graduate school at the time, however due to various constraints, he was not able to finish the game. In 2021, in collaboration with the original creator, CGCG was able to make a fleshed-out version of the game with new technology and it has since won numerous awards.
Thank you to Andrew and Chaohao, members of IG’s AAPI Employee Resource Group, for sharing these intriguing and culture rich games with us! Both titles offer unique experiences of their own and both developers have other titles to explore on various platforms. Next time the itch for a new game comes around, consider supporting Mojiken Studio and Creative Games & Computer Graphics Corp.